October 18, 2012

Black bears force shutdown of North Carolina wild areas

October 18, 2012 - Shining Rock Wilderness and Graveyard Fields in North Carolina were closed Wednesday to camping for the first time in at least five years after seven black bear encounters with humans were reported to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service said in a news release that the agency will “monitor conditions to determine when it is safe” to open the areas back up to camping.

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Biologist Mark Carraway said an acorn shortage at higher elevations was a contributing factor to the recent emergence of the black bears. The acorn crop at the higher elevations wasn’t sufficient enough to feed the bears, which pushed them down to a more plentiful crop at lower elevations.